shoplifting sisters who struck at retail outlets across East Lancashire, including Ribble Valley, have appeared before magistrates in Blackburn.
Sisters Khalida Ahmed (36) and Nazia Haq (32) were made subject to criminal anti-social behaviour orders which ban them from many major shops and stores throughout East Lancashire.
And the police officer behind the bid to curb the shoplifting siblings said the orders would be extended if they began “plying their trade” further afield.
“At the moment we hope it will be a nice Christmas present for the shopkeepers of Blackburn and the rest of East Lancashire from Lancashire Constabulary,” said Police Sergeant David Clarke.
“These women, especially Khalida Ahmed, are prolific shoplifters and we hope these orders can dramatically reduce their offending.”
Ahmed, of Rawsthorne Street, and Haq, of Saunders Road, both in Blackburn, pleaded guilty to theft of property from Matalan and Ahmed also pleaded guilty to thefts from Farm Foods and Argos. Ahmed was given a conditional discharge for 24 months and Haq a conditional discharge for 12 months. They were each ordered to pay £100 in compensation to Matalan.
They were made subject to a criminal anti-social behaviour order (crasbo) for two years which prohibits them from entering Blackburn town centre or the Townsmoor retail park.
In addition Khalida Ahmed is banned from entering Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Farmfoods, Iceland, Boots, Argos, Marks and Spencer, Next, Matalan, Primark, TK Maxx, Mothercare, B and M Bargains, Debenhams, Claire’s Accessories, Accessorize, Toys ‘R’ Us and Smiths Toys in Blackburn, Darwen, Ribble Valley, Accrington and Burnley. The Next, Lidl and Sainsbury stores in Burnley are excluded from the order. The orders will run for two years.
Mr Carl Gaffney (prosecuting) said the defendants were aware that if there were further offences in other towns, such as Bolton or Preston, the police would seek to have the crasbo extended to cover those towns.
“The crasbo is not a paper tiger, it is a court order,” said Mr Gaffney. “I say for their benefit that they will be ripe for custodial sentences if they breach these orders. This is very much a last chance saloon for them.”
Mr Scott Parker (defending) said his clients had been remanded in custody for eight days during the latest proceedings and this had acted as a wake-up call.
A third sister, Rizwana Ahmed (33), of Saunders Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to the theft from Matalan. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £100 compensation and £100 costs.
Mr Gaffney said she only had one previous conviction and had effectively found herself in “rum company”.
“The other two are professional shoplifters as far as the prosecution are concerned,” said Mr Gaffney.
Mr Parker said Rizwana had learned from her involvement in the prosecution of her sisters.